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Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure

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Offline randell

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Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« on: November 25, 2018, 11:39:36 PM »

My 15 yo, Xander, made his first trip to Big Bend in 2004 when he was six months old.  He has been at home in the park ever since that first visit.  Since he has gotten big enough carry his own weight, we can do pretty much whatever suits our fancy.  For this trip, it was the OML since neither of us had hiked the trail before.  We have both hiked the South Rim at least once, so we were not to excited to fight Thanksgiving traffic in the Basin to do the traditional OML  We decided to start at either Homer Wilson or Juniper Canyon.  Since Juniper Canyon was a long drive through rough/fun road, we decided to start there since it would not take too much time to drive over to the Homer Wilson Ranch to cache water.  In addition, we would be guaranteed to finish our hike away from casual tourists at the Juniper Canyon trail head. 

The plan was to start at the Juniper Canyon trail head, complete the Dodson, then travel up Blue Creek, cut across on the Colima trail and then take the Juniper Canyon trail back to the start.  We reserved most of one day to explore the Fresno watershed. 

We arrived Wednesday morning, got permits, and started the drive to the Juniper Canyon trail head.  We saw a couple hiking down Glenn Springs road with backpacks so I stopped to offer them a ride.  They said they would love a ride, but doubted we were going to where they were - the end of the Juniper Canyon road.  It was their lucky day, and ours, as we had company for the ride.  They had parked in the Basin and gotten a ride to RGV and were hiking/camping/hitching their way back to the Basin to explore along the way - sounded like a blast!

We got to the end of Juniper Canyon road and our new friends started hiking up Juniper Canyon while we prepped to start hiking the Dodson.  While we were packing, two girls arrived to cache water for a start at the Homer Wilson trail head.  We chatted for a while and wished each other good tidings. 

We hiked 3.5 miles down the Dodson to Dodson creek and found a campsite in that area.  Along the way we ran into this guy on the trail, on its way to bed.


The views were, as expected, outstanding.


We found a good spot and, as luck would have it, it was a full moon and we got to see it rising over the Sierra del Carmens.


We got had a nice view of the key hole in the NE rim as well.


There was running water a short distance down the Dodson creek bed and I wondered how far it ran.  It was surprisingly cool that first night.  We ate dinner and climbed into our sleeping bags for round one of a three night Travel Sorry/Gin Rummy series.  We were both a bit cool in our 20 degree bags, so we put the rain fly on.  This warmed us up nicely, but resulted in the expected dewey tent the next morning. 

It was a glorious morning with outstanding views of the rim.


We hiked a mile and a half to the Fresno watershed for a planned day of exploring.  There were some nice views of Elephant Tusk along the hike.


After setting up our wet tent to dry out, we were off.  Fresno was running really well with clear, cool water. 


It was amazing how much water was in the Fresno.  We kept hiking and the water kept flowing. 


We kept thinking the water would dry up at some point, but it kept running.  I never expected to spend a day in Big Bend with the sound of small waterfalls in my ears all day, but here it was.


We saw numerous frogs hopping happily around.


Many pools were bathtub sized.  The deepest was about three feet deep of crystal clear water.


We reached the Dodson/Fresno confluence and the Dodson was running just a well as the Fresno as the two joined and strengthened.  We eventually reached Tortuga Mountain and hiked just past it, about 2.25 miles before we had to turn around to get back to camp in time to eat dinner before dark.


While filtering some water we saw another hiker who stopped to get some water before continuing on.  Thanksgiving Dinner was Spaghetti and Pad Thai followed by some astronaut ice cream.


With a nice moon, we enjoyed some outstanding views.


Then the aliens showed up.


Thanksgiving night was a bit warmer and very pleasant.  After round two of our Travel Sorry/Gin Rummy series, we turned out the lights at 8:30pm.  The next morning was clear and beautiful.  We took a selfie before striking out for the Homer Wilson Ranch.


We were fortunate enough to have some clouds that kept the sun from heating things up much and we had some grand views of Elephant Tusk and more water.


We crossed many more washes with standing and running water.   The wildlife were taking full advantage of the water.


After much up and down, we reached the ridge affording us one of the best views of the hike.






After taking in the view for a while, we started the descent towards the Homer Wilson Ranch and our water cache.


At the Homer Wilson Ranch we took a long break to rid ourselves of catclaw and other assorted hitchikers.


After about a two hour break, we started up Red Rocks/Blue Creek.


I had been to Red Rocks before, but never further so there were some nice, new views.


About 2.7 miles up Blue Creek, we found a spot and completed the championship series of Travel Sorry/Gin Rummy and enjoyed some excellent views.


We hit the sack at about 8:30pm again.  At 12:01am, I awoke (light sleeper) and saw three hikers descending Blue Creek.  I assume they had some scheduling snafu to be hiking down the canyon at midnight...

Saturday was another beautiful day, though I was still sweating due to the long climb up Blue Creek.  We were thrilled to see Carousel Mountain, which we had hiked around the previous day.


On the way up, we saw the two girls we had chatted with on Wednesday at the Juniper Canyon trail head.  They were closer to finishing, but we had all had a great hike.  Our hike was much more fun once we got into the forested high country. 


We took a break at Boot Canyon, which had loads of water, then started down Juniper Canyon. 


Juniper Canyon started out nicely, but turned into a slog.  The 6.2 mile trail felt like 10 miles.  The trail in some sports near Upper Juniper Spring was wet/muddy.  We could what sounded like a strong waterfall in Juniper Creek, but we did not go investigate as we were running out of time.  We finally made it back to the trail head and we had it all to ourselves, which was a nice way to end the hike.


The 70 minute drive back to the pavement was a blast as we were both ready to sit after the seven hour hike of the day.  We stopped at the park sign on the way out to take our obligatory selfie as it has been too busy on the way in.


Then it was back to Marathon and on to Hondo for the night.  We made it out just in time for the sunset.
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Offline Homer Wilson

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2018, 11:51:28 PM »
Sounds like a great trip! Love the full moon over the del Carmens. The Dodson is full of rattlesnakes this year I guess

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2018, 05:39:27 AM »
Great trip Randell, great to see you back on BBC and a good way to escape the holiday crowds too!  Who won the Travel Sorry/Gin Rummy Championship?

Thanks for the great pictures, still hard to believe how much water is our there right now.  I hope to be there in 10 days.   :celebrate:
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 06:01:25 AM by mule ears »
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline Flash

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2018, 08:34:48 AM »
Great trip and report, Randell!  :great:  Do you suppose that may have been Steelfroggy traipsing by at midnight?  :eusa_think:

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2018, 08:59:37 AM »
Great trip and report, Randell!  :great:  Do you suppose that may have been Steelfroggy traipsing by at midnight?  :eusa_think:

Guilty!

Got a late start from HW, so we were hauling butt down BC.

We also explored the Fresno drainage a bit; amazing seeing the waterfalls out there.

Thanks for the pics Randell, and the water!

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Offline randell

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2018, 09:13:57 AM »
Great trip Randell, great to see you back on BBC and a good way to escape the holiday crowds too!  Who won the Travel Sorry/Gin Rummy Championship?

Thanks for the great pictures, still hard to believe how much water is our there right now.  I hope to be there in 10 days.   :celebrate:

Travel Sorry was a tie until the last night when I took the series.  Gin Rummy was a clean sweep in my favor.   :dance:

Great trip and report, Randell!  :great:  Do you suppose that may have been Steelfroggy traipsing by at midnight?  :eusa_think:

Guilty!

Got a late start from HW, so we were hauling butt down BC.

We also explored the Fresno drainage a bit; amazing seeing the waterfalls out there.

Thanks for the pics Randell, and the water!

I was thinking that was you when you mentioned hiking the trail in 14 hours.  You were definitely moving with purpose.  WAIT A MINUTE, I guess that means that was your group we saw as we were hiking the Dodson on Friday going towards HW.  We saw a group of 3, coming from the HW direction.  Two guys and a gal moving quickly.
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2018, 01:43:21 PM »

Then the aliens showed up.



                                                                                                                  :s_laugh:

I KNEW they were out there somewhere. Probably came from those lights Homer Wilson, and then Hookim, saw earlier in the year.


We finally made it back to the trail head and we had it all to ourselves, which was a nice way to end the hike.




GREAT trip and report, Randell.  You have a fine son, there.  I don't think there's any better trip than a parent backpacking with a capable and enthusiastic child.  Memories for a lifetime.  And with all the water out there this year, this is definitely the time to do it!
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline MedMoneyCat

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2018, 10:47:28 PM »
Great looking photos, great report/details, and congrats on finishing! Hoping to hike OML late Dec. Would you change or alter anything route, gear or logistics wise?

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2018, 10:55:45 PM »
Congrats Randell!

Somehow I can't believe that you had never done the OML before, but it's pretty awesome that you got to do it first with Xander.

 :eusa_clap:
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline Hookim

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2018, 11:21:48 PM »

Then the aliens showed up.



                                                                                                                  :s_laugh:

I KNEW they were out there somewhere. Probably came from those lights Homer Wilson, and then Hookim, saw earlier in the year.


We finally made it back to the trail head and we had it all to ourselves, which was a nice way to end the hike.




GREAT trip and report, Randell.  You have a fine son, there.  I don't think there's any better trip than a parent backpacking with a capable and enthusiastic child.  Memories for a lifetime.  And with all the water out there this year, this is definitely the time to do it!
HMoD: your memory never ceases to amaze me. And, yes, that is exactly what I experienced...  Actually, if I had seen something like that, the fastest Rim to Basin exit in history would have been recorded.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Big Bend Chat mobile app


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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2018, 08:59:23 AM »

Then the aliens showed up.



                                                                                                                  :s_laugh:

I KNEW they were out there somewhere. Probably came from those lights Homer Wilson, and then Hookim, saw earlier in the year.


  Actually, if I had seen something like that, the fastest Rim to Basin exit in history would have been recorded.


 :rolling: :rolling: :rolling:    I think Randell and Xander were on pretty friendly terms with this particular alien.  :icon_wink:
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2018, 09:30:46 AM »
When we were doing the OML dayhike in August, as we were going up the Juniper Canyon trail at like 2am,  Lance spotted a light going up and down seemingly in the Basin.  The possibility of aliens was seriously entertained.  Once we got to the basin, i asked the ranger there and he said there are drones used at night that have night vision cameras to track bears in the Basin (and people, my guess).  The drones have flashing lights on them.

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Offline Losthiker68

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2018, 03:21:20 PM »
I'm headed down on the 3rd and this trip report has me jazzed. I didn't think you'd see blacktails and frogs (I'm a herpetologist, I should know what species that is, damn it) this late in the year.

I have plans to hike down Fresno like you did but I'm hoping to get closer to the Tusk before bed. I'll be coming from HW the night before.  I know I'll have to bushwhack so I'll let fatigue decide when I'm close enough.
Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. - John Muir

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Offline Al

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Re: Backwards OML with an extra day for good measure
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2018, 06:06:34 PM »
Thanks Randell!  It's amazing how quickly kids grow up.

 


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